Thursday, 27 March 2014

Reminiscing ...

As a child, my family would visit Yowah annually.  We lived here permanently from June to December 1977, before spending Christmas and the long school holiday period with my Granny in Sydney.  We returned to Yowah in February 1978, staying through until the end of May when we set off for more caravan touring of Australia.  (You can see our rig here).

Things were a lot different in those days.  The small community did not have electricity.  We had an ancient diesel generator that would be run to power the washing machine.  It was used sparingly.  My mother would bucket water from the bore-drain (in front of our house) to fill the twin-tub.  My father filled 20-litre water containers at the bore-head and they stayed on a bench under cover of a verandah.  We used that water for drinking, cooking, cleaning teeth and so on. 

When we first arrived, the only shower was an outside one.  A large bucket was filled with water and raised.  Water would be released by pulling a cord and we were instructed not to waste water as it was heavy work to lift the bucket.  During the time we lived in the shack, my father made an extension to the tin building and created a simple bathroom.  He made a trip to Sydney for groceries and brought back a bath as well as some lino (which was laid directly over the red dirt, as was all the carpet in the shack which had been laid by the previous owners).

Our fridges ran on kerosene and my mother cooked on a fuel stove.  There was no television, so we would read and play games of an evening - by the light of the kerosene lamp.  We used candles too and would make nightly walks out to the pit toilet by torchlight.

Bread would come on the mail-truck but was already day-old on arrival, so my mother learned to make bread by hand.  There were limited groceries available and every so often we would travel to Cunnamulla to buy more.  The roads were dirt back then - wide and so red with lots of bull-dust. 

Our meat came on-the-hoof from the station-owner.  In the early days of our residency a sheep delivery was made.  Upon being asked where it should be put, my mother suggested the kitchen table.  The long-time Yowah resident looked a bit taken aback and explained quickly that it would be better tied up outside! 

On another occasion my parents and a number of others stood around the back of a ute, with a copy of the The Commonsense Cookery Book, trying to butcher a beast by referring to a small diagram showing the various meat cuts!

Even back then, the small population reduced over the hotter months and the station owner deemed it non-viable during those times to supply meat to the dwindling community.  Instead, he gave permission for the men to hunt wild pigs.  We ate so much pork in the lead-up to December that when we arrived at Granny's in Sydney we couldn't share her excitement for the Christmas pork she had specially organised for our dinner!

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